Background Paediatric cancer patients visiting outpatient clinics are often prescribed several medicines. However, there is limited data describing the caregivers’ knowledge about the patients’ medicines and their need for information.
Purpose To evaluate the level of knowledge of medicines and need for information among caregivers of paediatric patients in the outpatient clinics of a comprehensive cancer centre.
Material and methods After receiving medicines counselling from the outpatient pharmacy, caregivers of paediatric cancer patients were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of 11 questions with a 4-point Likert scale, ranging from excellent to very poor. The survey assessed the caregivers’ level of knowledge about the indications, dosing, side effects, drug-food interactions and storage requirements. The educational needs were assessed by asking questions related to the caregivers’ ability to administer the medicines safely and correctly to their paediatric patients.
Results Out of 103 caregivers, 87 (84.5%) completed the questionnaire. Sixty-six caregivers rated the counselling provided by the pharmacists as excellent. Excellent/very good understanding of the indications for the medicines, dosing and storage requirements was reported by 83 (95%), 86 (99%), and 81 (93%) caregivers, respectively. Knowledge reported about drug-food interactions was excellent/very good in 57 (66%) caregivers and poor/very poor by 30 (35%) caregivers. With regard to educational needs, 68 (78%) caregivers reported excellent/very good ability at using oral syringes to administer medicines, whereas 19 (22%) caregivers reported poor/very poor ability. Ability of patients to swallow oral capsules or tablets was reported excellent/very good in 67 (77%) patients and poor/very poor in 20 (23%) patients.
Conclusion There is a great need to improve caregivers’ knowledge of drug-food interactions. About one-third of our caregivers reported poor/very poor ability to use oral syringes to administer medicines and poor/very poor ability of paediatric patients to swallow medicines.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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